David details in this psalm how he responded to his enemies. He is aware of their secret counsels against him and of the various schemes they are planning. When he discovered their plans, he brought it all before the Lord. This knowledge he defines as a ‘complaint’, not against God but against his opponents. He lists various aspects of their intentions in verses 1-6 before summarising how God will deal with them in verses 7-10.
It is interesting to note that David’s concern is not so much with their threats but with his fear of their threats (v. 1). In other words, he realises that his current dread is an expression of lack of faith. He understands that often our own fear is the problem rather than the actual strength of the opposition, even if it is powerful. His response is also a reminder that we should be concerned primarily about our lack of faith when such circumstances occur.
David uses the same illustration to describe their plans and God’s response – arrows. The difference is that they have many arrows, which because of God’s defence of David will be ineffective. In contrast, God uses only one arrow, and that display of divine power is sufficient to defeat all of David’s enemies.
David also highlights another way by which God often works against his opponents and that is when he in his providence causes them to argue among themselves (v. 8). What they had planned in secret eventually becomes public, and becomes public in such a way that causes other to treat them with contempt. Or the verse could mean that their words, originally said in secret, will yet return to condemn them (just as some words and e-mails of News International and other media organisations are doing at present). The psalmist is confident that the threats of his opponents will yet be their undoing.
The outcome of such divine work is that people will take notice of it (v. 9). They will not be able to avoid deducing that God had come to the rescue of his servant. Sometimes we forget that people are affected when God works dramatically in his providence. As Spurgeon commented, ‘The judgements of God are frequently so clear and manifest that men cannot mis-read them, and if they have any thought at all, they must extract the true teaching from them.’
God’s people too will react to his providence (v. 10). Their response will be joyful trust in him. What had happened to David affected them all. His enemies were their foes, and his triumph over these opponents brought deliverance to his subjects. In a far higher way, the triumph of Jesus over his enemies has resulted in the deliverance of his people and they should show their gratitude by having a joyful trust in him.